The Equality Act (2010) and Schools
The Council and all its schools are required to meet its commitment to equality and account for how the legal obligations contained within the Equality Act 2010 will be met. Schools are required to prepare and publish a Strategic Equality Plan and bespoke equality objectives (once every four years) and publish information to demonstrate how they are complying with the Public Sector Equality Duties in Wales, which came into force in April 2011. The requirement to have a four year plan in place has been in force since 2012.
What are the requirements of the Equality Act and the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)?
The Equality Act 2010 brought together and replaced previous anti-discrimination laws into a single Act and introduced a new general duty on the Council when making decisions and delivering services to have due regard how to:
- Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited under the Act.
- Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
- Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
The Equality Act provides a power to make regulations imposing duties on public bodies to support better performance of the general duty; these are known as the Specific Public Sector Equality Duties and are different in England, Scotland and Wales.
The Public Sector Equality Duties in Wales includes a requirement for public authorities (including Local Authorities and Schools) to:
- Develop and publish a Strategic Equality Plan every 4 years that contains equality objectives and information on the engagement process carried out in order to identify these.
- Publish information annually to demonstrate how the school is complying with the Public Sector Equality Duty.
Every school’s current Strategic Equality Plans should clearly set out how they have met their legal responsibilities in developing the Plan and should include each setting’s specific equality objectives for a four year period. They should also include detail on how the equality objectives were identified, the approach taken in respect of engagement and the results, together with an action plan that sets out how the objectives will be delivered.
Schools can set as many objectives as it believes are appropriate to its size and context. The objectives should reflect the school’s unique needs and should be achievable. It is not a requirement for schools to write objectives for every protected characteristic as defined in the Equality Act 2010, but each school must deliver actions against the agreed equality objectives, and monitor its progress in achieving these.
The Strategic Equality Plan should include a commitment to regular monitoring of the delivery of the Plan and progress should be reported on an annual basis to the governing body.
If you require further information please contact the Equality and Diversity Team on 01443 444531 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org.